At our Phoenix 2014 reunion, Mike Balog read a very touching introduction he co-wrote with Jack Summers:
Greetings to our distinguished guests, family, and to our shipmates from the USS Lloyd Thomas. We gather here at this beautiful memorial, oddly enough in the middle of a desert, to remember our Navy and its men and women who have served America during our entire history as a free nation. We stand amidst the memory of heroes, and artifacts of their service. To the east of us rests one of the anchors from the USS Arizona, salvaged from the mud of Pearl Harbor in the weeks after December 7, 1941.
To the west is the mainmast yardarm, also salvaged from the USS Arizona. We stand here between two gun barrels, the 14” from the USS Arizona prior to its destruction and the 16” from the USS Missouri, the ship upon whose decks the instruments of surrender were signed in 1945. These long-silent weapons represent the beginning and the end of World War 2. In this peaceful place, they have symbolically been transformed from swords to plowshares.
After the names of the departed were read, “Taps” was played by a young man named Mason Lyle, grandson of Jack Summers.